Self-confidence remains a critical trait to possess — self-confidence factors into someone’s overall opinion of him/herself. That doesn’t mean the person wallows in self-importance. Nor does the person see him/herself as “more valuable” than others. Self-confidence should not be confused with narcissism, as Talkspace points out.
Self-Confidence is Healthy
Possessing a decent level of self-confidence allows someone to feel both comfortable and capable. The individual often comes off as comfortable with who he or she is, and you could say a self-confident person likes him or herself. That does not mean he or she sees no room for self-improvement. Self-confidence does not involve arrogantly believing self-perfection was long ago attained. In simpler terms, a self-confident person is happy with him/herself and feels capable of making certain decisions.
And there’s another critical component to confidence. Self-confidence connects with self-respect. People with self-respect generally demand respectful treatment from others. Self-confident persons won’t be thrilled when someone tries to disrespect them or walk all over them. They tend to stand up for themselves when necessary, which can be an admirable trait.
Narcissism, however, stands as something far different. Narcissism might root itself in selfishness, delusions of grandeur, and arrogance while falling under the description of a personality disorder. And narcissists rarely possess true self-confidence. Deep down, they may suffer from horrible low self-esteem.
The Narcissist’s Attitude
Self-confident people often realize that respect for the self goes hand-in-hand with respect for others. Treating someone else with self-respect may lead to people returning respectful behavior. The narcissist may treat others with disdain and then expect others to treat them like royalty. When they don’t experience the “respect they deserve,” narcissists might act belligerently. Not very many people enjoy the company of a narcissist.
The narcissist’s attitude involves a massively high opinion of him/herself. A narcissist might not be too keen on seeing his/her flaws. Such persons often demand admiration and have little or no empathy for others. People often tolerate narcissists because they have to do so. However, narcissists’ attitudes may inhibit their ability to develop real friends.
Critical Differences between Narcissism and Confidence
Narcissists aren’t usually known for being agreeable. They tend to argue and might not see things the other person’s way. A self-confident person may be more agreeable and avoid arguments. The self-confident person also sees a “greater good” associated with avoiding arguments: there are social benefits. Arguing undermines the ability to get along with people. A self-confident person may know he or she is “right” about something. The need to argue the point becomes irrelevant.
A narcissist might seek approval and affirmation at all costs. Arguing, no matter how fruitless, may be the narcissist’s path to receiving affirmation. And the narcissist doesn’t worry about the social consequences, which commonly proves self-defeating.
Building Up Self-Esteem
Not everyone has a great deal of self-esteem. Different factors might lead to someone suffering from reduced self-confidence, which might harm a person’s professional and social life. Many resources provide insights into improving and increasing self-esteem and self-confidence. Some may worry, however, that increasing self-esteem may lead someone down the path to narcissism.
Research indicates that increased self-esteem does not automatically lead to narcissism, as noted on Talkspace. Again, other elements contribute to narcissism. An increase in self-confidence won’t necessarily lead to a lack of empathy or demand for attention and affirmation.
Persons suffering from narcissism or another personality disorder may find it helpful to speak with a therapist. The negative effects of narcissism can be far-reaching, which is why seeking help may prove beneficial.